Pirates Sign Lyle Overbay To Be Starting First Baseman

The Pirates have signed first baseman Lyle Overbay, the team tweets. Overbay will be 34, and his ZiPS Projection has him hitting .244/.336/.423. Depending on how the Pirates were going to divide time at first base, he's probably an upgrade on defense, since he has been pretty consistently above average for his career, but I don't know how wise it is to expect a 34-year-old to maintain his career norms. And, obviously, Overbay can't really hit anymore.

We'll wait to see how much the contract costs, but the absolute best we can say about something like this is that it's unlikely to be harmful. It remains to be seen how the Pirates will divvy up playing time in first and right with Overbay, Garrett Jones, Steve Pearce, Matt Diaz and John Bowker, but given the choice between giving more opportunities to younger, cost-controlled guys like Pearce and Bowker or older, stopgap guys like Overbay and Diaz, the Pirates have apparently chosen the latter. This seems strange to me given that there's very little upside here if Overbay and Diaz work out, and Bowker and Pearce are fairly likely to keep pace with Overbay and Diaz anyway.

Of course, Overbay is a lefty and Pearce is a righty, and Diaz is a righty while Bowker is a lefty, so there's some tiny chance the Pirates could finagle some reasonably effective platoons, but the fact that Garrett Jones will probably take a bunch of playing time makes that unlikely. And besides, the team's Littlefield-like decision to add Overbay in the first place gives me little faith that the Bucs are going to be especially clever about the way these players are used.

Two big thumbs down on this whole offseason so far, by the way. After three years of proudly - and rightly - telling casual fans to shove it, the Pirates now seem to be packing for yet another Drive For 75. Well, it probably won't work, because guys like Overbay and Diaz and Kevin Correia aren't good enough, and it will make the Pirates even more depressing for those of us who actually pay attention, because watching Steve Pearce try to become a part of the Pirates' future is a lot more interesting than watching Lyle Overbay.

I'm probably overreacting somewhat, but this signing annoys me. Overbay doesn't even really appear to be an upgrade at this point.

UPDATE 2:14 PM: Jenifer Langosch writes that Garrett Jones will platoon with Matt Diaz in right field. Overbay will be the everyday first baseman, which, ugh. Ryan Doumit will be a bench player. It sounds like Pearce and Bowker are pretty much screwed, which isn't the worst injustice in the world but which doesn't make a lot of sense. Enjoy 600 plate appearances from Lyle Overbay, Pirates fans.

UPDATE 2:56 PM: It's one year, $5 million, Rob Biertempfel says.

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